Council members and LP&L representatives faced a hostile crowd on Monday as the Lubbock City Council and LP&L's Electric Utility Board met for a joint special session in response to public outrage over billing errors, poor customer service, and high bills.
The meeting happened amid a storm of protest as citizens expressed their frustration with Facebook and in-person protests. One Lubbock musician even made a protest video.
First, a representative from LP&L's consulting firm faced the board and explained why Lubbock needs to stay the course and commit to these rate increases.
The firm is recommending a 9.7 percent increase this year, followed by 7.4 percent next year, and 6.2 percent the year after that.
Chris Sims with LP&L told the board that Lubbock customers paid the second lowest electric rate in Texas in June.
LP&L estimates that they lost $3.2 million in revenue by under-billing customers in June. 44,000 customers were billed at the winter rate instead of the summer rate, for an average under-billing of $66 per customer.
Dale Stephens, Assistant Director of Electric Utilities, proposed to collect the under-recovered revenue during the winter time.
"The cost on the average customer that was under billed is about $66. That will be about $10 per month for 6 months," he said.
That motion was passed with no votes against it.
The board also decided to keep the rate increase the same.
However, they will lower the fuel cost adjustment from July to August from $7.20 to $6.60. They said on average, that saves customers approximately $6 per month.
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson summed up the results of the meeting in a statement Monday night:
"The LPL board voted to recover the under collected billing over a six month period beginning in October and effectively lower the fuel cost adjustment by .6 cents on the August bill. Staff indicated that will equate to $6 per 1000 KW consumed.
"They also voted to instruct management to investigate not only the events that caused the 'computer glitch,' but also why it wasn't communicated to upper management as well as the public.
"Staff was also instructed to add four customer service representative to exclusively answer questions concerning bills.
"I am hoping that this will offer some relief and help with the rising utility cost. I do not think we will have a good sense of the impact of these changes until next month.
"This is not the result I was hoping for but it is at least a start. Thanks to everyone that attended the meeting, your presence was effective."
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